Saturday, May 19, 2012

Backyard Chickens Update

Having backyard chickens has been a little stressful lately.  If you remember last week I moved the new chickens outside to a portable chicken tractor.  The first 3 days went very smooth.  The portable coop was placed right next to the stationary pen and the birds were able to see each other and things were good.  Then I started having problems and have continued with issues for the last few days. 

First off I had 2 of the chickens escape.  We have a large open backyard, no fences, and woods right next to us.  After just a short search I found one of the birds.  I never did find the other one.  So we are down to 3 new hens.

At the beginning of the week I mingled the new birds in with the veterans.  The newbies kinda just stayed tucked away and out of site.  There was the usual chasing and pecking but it was minimal.  A few days ago I went out to water the birds and saw that one of the newbies had a large open wound on her wing.  My only guess is that this is the one that got out before and she tried to do it again and she got hung up.  I brought her inside, filled a rubbermaid tote with straw and got her settled in.  After 3 days of applying antibiotic ointment to the wound it is looking lots better.  I think she will be ok! 

I have been noticing a little more bullying and pecking by one specific hen the last few days.  The 2 remaining newbies have been hiding in a dirt hole in the corner of the pen most of the days.  Yesterday I went to check on them and noticed that one of the newbies had a large open sore on the back of her neck.  I watched the hen chase and peck at her.  Great, now I have 2 injured newbies.

Last night I removed the bullying hen and put her in isolation in the portable run.  I doctored up the injured hens neck and it was almost dusk so everyone should have went in and roosted for the night.

Today is a new day and we will see what challenges it brings in the chicken keeping business.


  1. So sorry about your little baby chicks. We had a huge problem when we first put ours in together, but once I stood in the coop and hollered at the aggressive one every time she came near the babies, she settled down. We do seem to have two separate flocks now, our older hens want nothing to do with the young hens. They even sleep on opposite sides of the coop. Good luck to you!

  2. Wow, lots of chicken drama! I don't know a thing about chickens, but I have kept fish for many years and when we introduce a new something to the tank, we always do it with the lights off. Also, if an older established fish is going to be aggressive to the newbies, I re-arrange the rockwork a bit right before I add the new comers. Then everyone is on more equal footings, as everyone is looking for a new spot to call their own (fish have a spot to "roost" so to speak each night as well). Good luck, sounds like you're doing the right things. Try moving things around a bit when you decide to add everyone back in, namely the top hen. Good luck!